Parents, friends, and loved ones often ask great questions: Is my gamer addicted? What does addiction look like? Can I really be addicted to gaming?

This list includes thirteen signs that a gamer is struggling with unhealthy gaming behavior. Since practice makes permanent, these signs tell us that they are headed in the wrong direction on their journey to who God has called them to be.

It is important to remember that addiction, at its core, makes us captive to behaviors we know aren’t good for us, and we know we can’t stop on our own. Jesus promised that he came to set the captives free (Luke 4:18), and reminds us that our heart is the real problem (Luke 6:45). He is a critical part of overcoming addiction.

My hope is this list will help start the conversation about what healthy gaming looks like. You may find it helpful to print this and jot down your thoughts to help with future discussions with your gamer.

13 Signs of Gaming Addiction

Does your gamer:

  1. Think about games all the time?
  2. Game instead of doing other important tasks?
  3. Struggle to set a time limit for playing, and keep it?
  4. Lose track of time while gaming?
  5. Has gaming negatively impacted other areas of their lives?
  6. Hide, or felt a need to hide, their gaming from others?
  7. Use gaming as an escape ? Do they game to feel happier?
  8. Get upset or frustrated when they can’t game?
  9. Get defensive when people try to talk to them about their gaming habits?
  10. Spend more than a healthy amount of money on gaming? (games, tournaments, consoles, systems, etc)
  11. Feel a need increase play time more in order to enjoy the games?
  12. Feel conflicted: They want to game, but they feel like their wasting time/money/life when they game.
  13. Joke about the negative affects of gaming (hangman’s humor)?

If you answered “yes”, or even “sometimes” to any of these questions, your gamer is showing unhealthy gaming behavior.

We still take right action: We are responsible for our choices and there are professionals can help with the physical consequences of our actions. If we want to lose weight we don’t simply pray for a smaller waist size, we act in faith and get our exercise on! For gaming we still take right action, and yet we understand our actions must go beyond behavior modification to changing who is in charge of our hearts if there is to be lasting change.

Gaming addiction, and even unhealthy gaming behavior, does not have to be a permanent.

This addictive behavior is a heart issue, and in Christ God promises to make us new. (2 Cor. 5:17)

For more on this, be sure to also check out my post on “How to Spot Addictive Gaming”.

I want to make this link available as a regular resource. To help with this I’ve created a permanent resource page under the “Addiction” tab. This way it doesn’t go away as simply an older “post”. You can link to the Addiction List here.

 

Sources taken from:

  1. The University of Indiana: http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/hints/addictiveb.html
  2. The American Society for Addictive Medicine: http://www.asam.org/for-the-public/definition-of-addiction
  3. Video Game Addiction.org: http://www.video-game-addiction.org/symptoms-computer-addiction-teens.html on 9/13/2014
  4. Gary Stollman: http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/685 on 9/13/2014)
  5. University of Texas at Dallas: Computer Addiction http://www.utdallas.edu/counseling/computeraddiction/